Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog, including strong statements in support of weinerdog-riding monkeys, are our own, and not those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mimi and Boppa

Marilyn spent quality time playing with Jack and otherwise helping out.

While Luther and I headed to Chernobyl (reactor 4 sarcaphagus in the background). It was an interesting 'tourist' activity, to visit the site of the worst nuclear accident in history.

We're basically standing where the red arrow points.

Pretty eerie. Even eerier was wandering the streets of Pripyat, the nearby town that was evacuated after the accident and is still contaminated, and empty. Pictures of that later.

Now it's time for Oktoberfest.

Little viking

Marilyn brought a bunch of stuff from my childhood with her. A whole bag of it. Included in it was an old, plastic 'viking' helmet. It was an instant hit, and Jack insisted on wearing it (and his backpack) to the park.

The only problem is that it's a bit big, and on the way home in his stroller he couldn't lean back without the helmet slipping down over his eyes.

But it's still a cool helmet.

More selfless than Mother Teresa

A few week ago Katherine and I joined a few other embassy folk at Otchiy Dom, an orphanage just outside of Kyiv.

We went to help out with some projects around the place. I expected it to be a bit "little orphan annie" but was surprised to find a nice place with kids who used to be on the streets in a caring environment. Plus, the house was blue.

I think when they heard we were coming, they decided not to do all the worst things that needed to be done, assuming we were stupid enough to do anything they asked. And they were right.

Stripping wallpaper?


I wanted to suggest painting the walls instead of re-wallpapering them, but they had already bought the new stuff.

Painting low bricks on the stairs because they tend to get dirty. I gave myself a promotion to foreman and employed a few of the kids.

The group, with some of the kids. They cut me out of the picture. I was on the far left. Just as well, I guess.

The organization does a good job getting kids off the street. They have a multi-step program, with the goal either a) getting the kids back to their parents, b) getting the kids adopted into new families, or c) letting the kids grow up in a family environment at the home.

They seem to be doing a good job.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dynamo - Arsenal

Champions League, Group G, First Round.

1-1 tie.

That was a surprise.

Luther and I went with a large group of people from the embassy + other, non-affiliated folk.

Arsenal tied it at 87 minutes, casting a pall over the stadium.

Good game all around, though.

More news here.

Marilyn and Luther leave


I guess I didn't finish my last sentence. Marilyn and Luther leave Friday, which is today, which is to say that they left. For Rome. In Italy. The one shaped like a boot.

Tomorrow we have our very own taste of Germany right here in Kyiv. Oktoberfest. We went last year on our first weekend in town (tomorrow is our 1 year anniversary in Kyiv). Tomorrow we're going without Jack. 2 liter beers and sausage. What more could you want to celebrate a year in Ukraine?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Grammy ('Mimi' to Jack) and Boppa are here.

And we have another boarder. Sierra, a 10-year old golden lab, whose family is away for the next 3 weeks, has moved in.

Jack's happy.

As we walk her in the rain, we are less so.

She's actually a great dog. Very mellow. Let's Jack pretty much mandhandle her as there is a 1.5 year old at her house and she's used to it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

So the VP is gone

My role was, again, site officer for a visit to the Holodomor memorial. VP and Mrs. Cheney and President and Mrs. Yushchenko.

I haven't found anything online yet, but I suspect the pictures will look alot like this, but sunnier.

Besides the visit, this has been happening, which has kept me busy (in addition to the VP visit prep) in my first full week in the political section.

Update: A picture from my site made it onto the NY Times website.

Wonder if it was in the print edition, too.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mr. Happy...

...plays air guitar